It’s Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy St. Paddy’s Day, Lá fhéile Pádraig sona duit as gaeilge, or even Happy St. Pat’s Day at a push, but Happy St. Patty’s Day it is not.
On the Emerald Isle, we say St. Patty’s about as much as we utter “top O’ the mornin to ye” while eating corned beef and cabbage alongside a leprechaun minding a pot of gold and wearing a four-leaf clover in our lapel — i.e., absolutely never.
(Correction: We say “good morning”; we like bacon or ham with our cabbage to make it nice and salty; we stay well away from leprechauns as they are vicious little creatures; and the three-leaf shamrock is Ireland’s national flower with St. Patrick using it as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity.)
“Paddy is derived from the Irish, Pádraig, hence those mysterious, emerald double-Ds,” Campbell writes on his site.
“Patty is the diminutive of Patricia, or a burger, and just not something you call a fella (a man). There’s not a sinner in Ireland that would call a Patrick, ‘Patty.'”
In recent years, “#PaddyNotPatty” has trended on social media in a bid to inform those across the Atlantic about the patron saint, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland as well as, according to legend, driving the snakes into the sea.
Robert Savage, interim director of Irish Studies at Boston College, believes the debate is PC gone mad.
“I don’t think it bothers anybody here (in the US) that Patrick is not referenced properly,” he told CNN.
“Saying Patty’s Day or Paddy’s Day is not meant to be malicious or disrespectful, but just a shorthand way to acknowledge the holiday.
“It doesn’t really matter as long as people have a great time celebrating Ireland! Political correctness does not extend to St Patty’s Day!”
However, like Savage, he said it doesn’t bother him.
“I poke fun at my friends here who might call it St Patty’s Day, but it’s not a big deal,” O’Sullivan said.
“It’s great to have so many people in the US talking about their love of Ireland and their connections to Ireland every March 17th and that’s all that really matters.”
CNN also reached out to arguably Ireland’s second most successful export to the US, U2’s Bono, but he has yet to return a request for comment.